Jan. 24, 2013 - Issue #901: Children can’t choose
Free-Man on the Land
Free-Man on the Land sets out to explore the concept of freedom by enmeshing two unusual storylines. We initially meet The Host (Steve Pirot) and Nobody (Murray Utas) who are staging a show that "The Man Commonly Known as Richard Svboda" (Des Parenteau) is oblivious to as he carries on with his life. The Host and Nobody set each scene, converse with their technical crew and work hard to help Richard make his way to an epiphany regarding his existence as "theatrical fiction." Within this larger plot, the second storyline reveals Richard's personal struggle with the concept of what it means to be free.
If that synopsis comes off as somewhat complicated to you, then you've got the gist of the show's structure. The two storylines often playfully decline to provide defined boundaries and run into one another constantly. Playwright Steve Pirot's script is smart, funny and engaging, but how effectively it translates to stage seems a slightly different story. The audience is whisked through different vignettes of Richard's life with frequent visits to the theatrical machinations of The Host and Nobody, and while you eventually adapt to the show's brand of plot amalgamation, it's often a bumpy ride. The incorporation of live music into the show, however, serves to beautifully smooth the journey out. Dale Ladouceur's wonderful voice and talented wielding of the Chapman Stick is an enriching aspect that ultimately contributes a great deal to character development.
As The Host and Nobody guide Richard to an epiphany about his perceived limitations regarding the stage that's housing his story, Richard's quest to be a Free-Man on the Land guides the audience to face some probing questions about the concept of freedom. How important is it to you to be free, and in what sense of the word? Does absolute freedom exist? If it's attainable, do you want it if it means you'd have to "free" yourself from all the ties that bind? Free-Man on the Land plays with the idea that freedom is subject to gradation: it pushes you to ask yourself just how free you want to be. With its two-act structure and a script that keeps you forever on your toes, don't sit back, don't relax, and get ready to think.
Until Sun, Jan 27 (8 pm)
Directed by Murray Utas
The Roxy Theatre, $11 – $26
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